Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Meet AJ - the record breaker


AJ holds project records for the longest distance travelled, the first Norwegian re-sighting, the second Norwegian re-sighting and is the (almost) record holder for the shortest bill at the time of ringing! What a bird!

Long distance record holder - AJ. Arnt Kvinnesland

AJ was re-sighted and photographed at Stavasanden, Karm√ły, Rogaland, Norway on the 2nd of April and on the 3rd August 2013.

The re-sighting location for AJ (red) and the original ringing site (green)

AJ’s bill measured just 64 mm at the time of ringing and was beaten only by AZ (with a bill tip to feathers measurement of 63 mm). DJ, who turned up in Orkney on the 1st May, and who happens to be the previous long distance record holder, had a bill length of 90 mm at the time of ringing, which was the longest of all 119 birds ringed.

Comparison in bill length between DJ and AJ. 
Colin Corse, Arnt Kvinnesland

Oystercatcher bill length is a result of their foraging strategies. Some opt to smash open their preferred prey – cockles and muscles – by hammering at them and blunting their bills, while others take a different approach and prise them open. Their bills are constantly growing (like our finger nails), so it’s possible for them to change in length depending on the prey they are exploiting at a particular time.

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